Meet Mr Poo - India's anti-public defecation mascot from Unicef

Though the video is light-hearted; the issue is a serious one

Rob Williams
Wednesday 16 April 2014 12:08
Comments
Meet Mr Poo: The lumpy, brown anthropomorphised faeces that is the face of Unicef's latest public health campaign in India.
Meet Mr Poo: The lumpy, brown anthropomorphised faeces that is the face of Unicef's latest public health campaign in India.

Meet Mr Poo: The lumpy, brown anthropomorphised faeces that is the face of Unicef's latest public health campaign in India.

Accompanied by an insanely catchy techno-Bollywood-style anthem, Mr Poo features in a very silly and surreal new video aimed at raising awareness of the health dangers associated with public defecation in India. Though the video is light-hearted; the issue is a serious one.

Globally, India has the largest number of people, more than 620 million, still defecating in the open. Only about half the population of the country use toilets.

According to the Poo2Loo campaign, which is supported by United Nations Children's Fund, 44 per cent of mothers in India dispose of their children’s faeces in the open, meaning there is an extremely high risk of microbial contamination (bacteria, viruses, amoeba) of water - which can cause diarrhea in children.

Diarrhea makes children more vulnerable to malnutrition, stunting, and opportunistic infections such as pneumonia.

Mr Poo, who also features in his own smartphone app, released last month, is part of a brave campaign from Unicef, an organisation often reluctant to take a humourous or light-hearted approach to taboo public health subjects.

It has received a mixed reception since it began in January of this year. Some commenters beneath the video posted by Unicef India on YouTube described the campaign as 'degrading', with some criticising the use of English in the video and claiming that its target audience are likely to be already using toilets.

However, the video has received better responses on social media for making a serious and taboo subject accessible.

The video begins with a man sleeping in his bed as the accompanying song begins: "First thing in the morning, what do I see? A pile of sh*t staring at me." He is chased down the street by a collection of poos before the people of town build a giant toilet and flush the faeces away.

"Urban or rural, poo is all around us, in our playgrounds and outside our offices. If we're silent, we're contributors," Maria Fernandez, a Unicef campaign coordinator in India told the Wall Street Journal.

"And," she said, "the song is catchy. I wake up singing it."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in